Friday, June 01, 2007

Strike actions à la française

An excellent post in French bu JDCh on the subject of the "service minimum" the new French government tries to impose in the strikes in public transportation, public education or public postal service. While the direct economic and financial damage inflicted to the employing company are less important than in other cases - like in retail or aeronautics - the economic implications are extremely important on a nationwide scale due to the possibility of a complete inactivity during the strike period in these kinds of public companies. Hence the intention of the French government to impose a mandatory minimal activity during the strikes. The French trade unions have already accused the government of attacking the fundamental right of striking through this measure, which is not entirely true since in other public sectors - health care, police or energy distribution - strike actions are already limited by minimum activity imperatives. And if strikes are still capable of inflicting economic and financial damage upon the public companies in the aforementioned sectors, then the problem of the fundamental right is completely solved. But there is one more interesting aspect about this whole issue of the "service minimum". This measure will largely diminish the power of the four big French trade unions which today are capable of paralyzing the entire public transportation or postal service locally or nationwide, but in the meantime represent an extremely low percentage of wage-earners especially in the private sector. As a personal touch, they're way too close to the worn-out marxism and to the French communist organizations, therefore the renewal of the French unions is more than ever imperative.